NO family in Scotland will have to pay to bury or cremate their child when local authority charges are abolished later this year.

The Scottish Government and the council group Cosla announced the “imminent” change” after a deal to remove fees in return for £500,000 of extra government funding.

Most councils already waive fees for those under the age of 16, but this will be extended to all those aged under 18, bringing Scotland into line with England.

The Church of Scotland described the change as “very welcome”.

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Rev Dr Richard Frazer said: “The funeral of a loved one can place a significant and unexpected burden on the friends and family they leave behind.

“While there is still more to be done, this policy should mean fewer people turn to payday loan companies, credit cards and other sources of funding for the funeral of their child.”

Michael McGuire from Fort William, who had to return to work just three days after laying his baby son Kyle to rest because of the cost, and now supports grieving families, said: “I cannot describe how relieved as a bereaved parent this makes me feel.

“At a time of such harrowing pain, burial fees should be the last thing to worry about.

“For myself and all my friends that represent our children, this is a special day.”

Communities Secretary Angela Constance said: “The death of a child is one of the most tragic experiences that anyone can go through.

“We agree with Cosla that no family should have to pay to bury or cremate their child.”

Cosla communities spokesperson Elena Whitham added: “It is a truly awful to have to manage the burden of a funeral or cremation for a child. We are acutely aware that none of us plan for the financial costs because we don’t expect it to happen to our families. For some, any charges can lead to high cost borrowing and financial crisis.”

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Labour MSP Monica Lennon said: “It was disappointing to see the SNP Government playing catch up on this issue, with the fees already waived in England and Wales after a spirited campaign by Labour MP Carolyn Harris.

“SNP ministers must honour this commitment and ensure Scotland’s councils have the funds to remove the burden of child burial fees from bereaved parents."